The design of an axe is in that way so it can endure any tough and hard thrust. For regular use, the efficiency of it can decrease and it may not give the exact performance as it was delivering before. And with the regular use, you may need to change the axe handle eventually.
If you are a new axe wielder, then the concept of replacing the handle may seem new to you. With proper care, an axe handle will provide you with a long time guarantee. But with years of use, it looses up its efficiency and demands a new handle right away.
For a person who’s not used to the process, needs someone who explains the steps. And in today’s post is going to do that.
Stay along and let’s explore-
How to replace an axe handle: step by step guide
The steps of replacing an axe handle are given below-
First, you need to choose the one that handle fits the axeblade. You can purchase one from any woodworking shop or can make it from your known woodworker. Or you can make it yourself from scratch if you are good at it. It needs taking a lot of measurements and precise woodworking.
There are different sizes of axes so the handles’ sizes are also different. There may be a doubt if you will find the exact same size of the handle as you had before then I can confirm you that sizes are available.
You will easily find the handle that will fit your blade. Then it comes removing the old handle.
If your old handle faces any damages when removing, then it is not a problem because you are not going to use it again. There are some ways for removing the axe handle-
- There is a hole in the ax, drill into it and make a sufficient big hole so you can insert a metal wedge. After inserting the metal wedge, hit it with a hammer to thrust it out.
- Using chisel could also help in removing the handle. Hammer out the handle using a chisel. The handle may be broken of face damages but don't hesitate as you are not going to use it again.
- The other way is sawing off the axe handle. Hammer out the part of the handle that is stuck inside the blade.
This step is about cleaning the eye of the ax. You have already eject the old handle from the blade but some portion of the handle which is little may still stick with the blade.
Push that debris with the help of chisel and make the inside smooth. For checking if the debris from the old handle is removed properly, use a sandpaper inside of the ax. The eye is where the handle of the axe fits into.
Here you have the mark the kerf of the new axe handle. What is kerf? There is a saw wedge in the handle top that is called kerf. Store-bought handles may have pre-made kerf. The task of it is allowing the handle to fit into the eye. Find the point where the kerf ends.
Then take a pencil to make a trace line around the handle. If you mark the kerf that will be easier for you to set up the handle to the axe as it gives a visual reference of the depth that you need to go.
First, you need to push the handle for trying it manually. Use a blunt piece of wood to tap it lightly and check how far the handle goes after each push. How far the handle gets in will be based upon the bottom of the kerf. Don't press much pressure when pushing the handle for the first time.
From this, you will get an idea of the measurement of the pressure that you need to give on the top of the handle.
Now you need to cut the handle according to the test fitting results. Do not use any metal hammer when pushing the handle because that can cause damage to it.
You have marked the kerf with a pencil. Apply force to fit the handle even if the kerf crosses the line and goes into the blade's eye. It will be no matter if it slightly takes someplace. Strike the other end with a piece of blunt wood. Then use it as a wedge; try to push.
Excessive force should be avoided and also steel hammer or metal hammer. Instead of steel or metal hammer use blunt that you can use for gaining desired pressure without damaging the handle.
After you test the handle by placing it a few times, now you can able to decide how you have to cut out axe handle. The handle needs the fit into the blade. If it doesn't fit, then narrow it down to that point where it will fit. Also, it needs to fill up space into the blade's eye.
You can use a rasp to cut the wood smoothly. Files and rifflers are also preferable for cutting a certain length of wood. Allow half inch space between the kerf bottom and the main handle.
In that step, you need to fill the kerf and fill it with a wedge. You can fill it in the opening on another side of the eye. The process will prevent from moving around. You can tap a wedge into the kerf and secure it there with the carpenter’s glue.
You have secured the wedge and now take a metal wedge. Add metal wedges and use a hammer for it which will make it secure. This is the protection to your axe which ensures that the kerf's wedge will not fall out of place. Better is to add the wedges diagonally which will provide better protection.
Now it’s time to sawing off the protruding wedge. You have already secured the handle from protruding side. Now saw it down.
The benefit of sawing off the protruding wedge is that will maximize the force of the swing. When protruding, keep an eye that you are keeping a few millimeters and that will be on the end of the handle.
If you feel that the handle is not fit enough to the blade even though you have to go through all the steps, then fill whatever cracks with glue. But using glue may make it difficult to replace the handle if it runs out. So if you frequently work with wood than it is suggested that avoid using glue. Chair Doctor is thin viscosity liquid to fill all the gaps and it is preferred to apply instead of glue.
You can use mineral oil to protect your handle from running out. Mineral oil bottles are cheap and can restore the lasting life of your ax. Take a hand cloth and drip some oil into it. Apply the oil over the axe handle and definitely apply it consistently. Keep in that way for a few minutes and let the oil soak in.
Oil is good for your handle because that will block the entry of any kind of moisture. If you are storing your axe in a heavy moisture environment, then it will be best to apply mineral oil on it. Use a coat of mineral oil on the axe hand regularly, that will increase the workability of the ax.
Once you replace the handle that should serve you for months or years. But for this you need to take care of your axe otherwise it will fail to deliver the outcome. Irresponsible swinging can happen the damage of your ax. Store the axe in a safe place so it is not affected by anything.
Definitely keep it away from any moisture environment because that will decrease the lifetime of it. Sometimes you may think of putting extra force to do your work swiftly. But you can avoid applying extra force by sharpening the blade regularly and that increase the serving time.
If you are regularly dealing with wood, then axe is a very important tool of your toolset. Nothing is everlasting so the axe handle can also lose its workability. But if you properly can replace the axe handle then nothing to worry about and you can save money also you need not buy a new ax. For this knowing how to replace an axe handle in necessary. I have described the guideline of replacing the handle here. So if have to go through it, you will be the beneficiary!